Category Archives: Meanings of life / death / social & moral stuff

Knowledge, that human practice

Ordinarily, we think knowledge is having in one’s head some kind of story or an explanation that matches how Things Really Are. This ordinary conception has at least two problems. First, it assumes that there is a way Things Really … Continue reading

Posted in Historical episodes, Items of the academy / learning, Meanings of life / death / social & moral stuff | 13 Comments

Living in the light of necessity

[excerpt from To View from Eternity] The neoplatonists urge us to see our troubled lives from the view of eternity. The world issues from the metaphysical character of the One, which means that the order of the planets and the balance … Continue reading

Posted in Meanings of life / death / social & moral stuff, Stacks of Books | 3 Comments

Needed: a handbook for e-life

There probably is room in today’s ideosphere for a handbook for living a balanced life in our ephemeral e-world. If course, for a great many humans (the majority? I think so, but I’m not sure) there really is no e-world, … Continue reading

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Victorian anthropology

[Reading George W. Stocking, Victorian Anthropology (Free Press, 1987)] Stocking’s book is most centrally about how 19th-century upper-class British males managed to combine their sense of superiority with an emerging awareness of Darwinian evolution. Many loose threads needed to be woven … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Historical episodes, Meanings of life / death / social & moral stuff, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Living cynically

(an excerpt from Doubts) The contemporary German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk defines “cynicism” as enlightened false consciousness. It is what results when we know all too well our own weaknesses and limitations, and our own involvement in dastardly practices, but then … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Historical episodes, Meanings of life / death / social & moral stuff, Stacks of Books | 7 Comments

Voting for artichokes

For some reason there’s been a lot of talk about voting. My understanding of voting is (predictably) rather instrumentalist and flat-footed: since there is no more rational way of deciding things, we make our preferences known (show of hands, cast … Continue reading

Posted in Meanings of life / death / social & moral stuff | 6 Comments

Achieving Star Trek

Culture is an engine that transforms food into ideas. Individual bodies are responsible for turning food into energy, but it takes a mind to create ideas, and a mind is possible only in a community. Just as a body requires … Continue reading

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